ushnarasmou – untimely spring
for chamber choir a capella
12-part choir (SATB) a capella
from the Kumaarasambhava by Kalidasa
complete: 8' 40"
Part I: ushnarasmou (rays of sunshine): 4'
Part II: kusumaani (flowers, the hermits, stillness): 4' 40"
Year of composition:
The Choir of King's College London
The Choir of King's College London Italian Tour 2016
ushnarasmou sets excerpts from the Kumaarasambhavam (a 5th century, Sanskrit epic poem by Kalidasa), describing the untimely blossoming of spring in the Himalayas, leading from the exuberant unleashing of natural forces to spiritual turmoil and eventually sudden stillness.
Part I – ushnarasmou
canto 3.25 (rays of sunshine)
As the burning rays of sunshine (ushnarasmou) turn to the mythological northern realm guarded by Kubera at an unwonted hour from the south, the sun’s consort gives out a fragrant breeze), a mournful sigh at the unscrupulous early departure of her lover.
Part II - kusumaani
The aSoka tree (symbol of fertility) is said to blossom in response to the touch of the tinkling anklets worn by beautiful maidens, but on this occasion immediately throws copious red flowers (kusumani) and buds of its own accord.
3.34 (the hermits)
The hermits practising penance in the forest find their endeavours at taming their minds hindered by the heady manifestations of the untimely awakening of nature.
Although Siva was unaffected by the sensuous turmoil in the Himalayas to help those of lesser spiritual discipline, eventually touches his lips for silence freezing the scene, as in a picture the forest no longer stirs, no buzzing from the bees, hushed are the birds, and still all creatures stand.
ushnarasmou is dedicated to the memory of David Trendell.